When you speak with Fenwick Foundation’s executive director, Alex Gorny, it’s hard not to be impressed with the sheer scope of the organization and the work that they’ve accomplished in their nearly twelve years of existence. Founded in 2011, the organization is a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to “improve the quality of life, health, and wellbeing in ways that are not addressed or ‘below the radar.’”
The organization was started when co-founder Thomas Fonseca was volunteering at a local long-term facility, and, in a conversation with the activity coordinator, he was saddened to hear how residents’ interaction in the community and engagement with activities was limited by their income. That was when Fonseca had the idea for the first outing of the Fenwick Foundation: a trip to see the Washington Nationals. By the end of the first year of the organization, the Fenwick Foundation had served 135 participants. And that was just the beginning.
Today, the Fenwick Foundation has provided services to over 100,000 participants across fourteen states and has garnered 375 partners. Some of the programs they’ve sponsored have been the annual Nutcracker ballet, a virtual concert from American Idol’s runner-up, and a live online recital from Josh Groban. When asked about what his favorite program was, Alex says that it’s hard to choose because it “put[s] a smile on your face when you see the smiles on the faces of those we work for.”
The Fenwick Foundation has made a great impact on Fellowship Square residents in many ways, in particular through the Ernest Breeding Gardening Program and Project ADAPT. Every year, the Ernest Breeding Gardening Program generously donates gardening gift cards to beautify Fellowship Houses and foster a love of gardening. These gift cards are meant to give residents agency in choosing the plants they need, ensuring that these gardens are designed by the people who will love and tend to them. These gift cards have been used to buy plants of all kinds and have brought much joy to residents.
Project ADAPT has also made a difference in the lives of Fellowship Square residents. Project ADAPT
(Adult Dental Access, Prevention, and Treatment) is a dental clinic that offers oral care to those who are uninsured and makes dental care accessible. When the program was piloted in 2015, the Fenwick Foundation would send small groups in cabs to local dentists, but what the organization realized quickly was the logistical challenges of this arrangement and, thus, started up the portable dental practice. At the Fellowship Houses, rooms are scrubbed to be sterile by staff members the night before, and dentists will come on-site to see patients.
The ADAPT dentists have provided a number of essential services to residents over the course of the program including x-rays, cleanings, and cavity fillings. The Foundation even works with residents before coming on-site to fill out all necessary paperwork, so the process is as seamless and easy as possible. The work of the Fenwick Foundation has made an immense difference in the lives of Fellowship House residents and has made access to dental care a reality for many.
Pictures on Flickr of Fenwick Foundation in action: HWFH The Fenwick Dental Clinic: 09-30-2022 | Flickr and LRFH Dental Clinic with Fenwick | Flickr.